[Music] Presence – Led Zeppelin (1976)

Collaboration post! Sarca from Caught Me Gaming and Kevin from Buried On Mars take on Led Zeppelin! Each week, we will be reviewing a Led Zeppelin album on our respective blogs! So don’t forget to check out Kevin’s blog too!

Read up on my thoughts on:

My history with Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin II

Led Zeppelin III

Led Zeppelin IV

Houses of the Holy

Physical Graffiti

This week, we look at Led Zeppelin’s seventh album, Presence (1976)

Confession time: I never owned a copy of Presence during my formative years of Led Zeppelin fandom. Even now, my only copy is my husband’s beaten up copy of Presence on vinyl. My point of reference for this album’s track listing pretty much comes down to what was on the Led Zeppelin Complete box set (a.k.a. the Orange Box), specifically, cassettes 3 and 4. Achilles Last Stand, For Your Life, Candy Store Rock and Nobody’s Fault But Mine are found there in the midst of other greats. These are all decent songs; in typical Led Zep form, they kick, they have balls. Did they add an extra mic to Bonzo’s bass drum? Me thinks so. They just aren’t GREAT songs or tunes that penetrate your consciousness, which pretty much sums up my thoughts on the album as a whole.

I was never chuffed enough to pull the trigger on the full Presence LP. There are only 7 songs on the album, and I had the best of ’em on the Orange box set; I get the sense Jimmy knew this too when he added the gems of the bunch to it. I don’t think I’m missing much here: Royal Orleans is listenable, but forgettable. Hots On for Nowhere is a whole lotta “la-la-la-lala-yeah” from Plant, and has a Nobody’s Fault But Mine leftover feel. Tea For One sounds very same-y and uninspired (Since I’ve Been Loving You, anyone?).

And about the Presence album art: not my favourite. I get that the iconography of a sturdy phallic object appearing in the everyday lives of people is a metaphor for Led Zeppelin’s power and “presence” (the “phallic” comment created an interesting discussion between myself and the hubs). For me, I’m more bothered by the artistic execution: I think it would have appeared to have been more entrenched in the people’s realities had the graphic designer used some shadowing on the object instead of just gluing it in place; as it stands, it looks like it’s just floating there. And maybe I’m thinking too much about it; joke’s on me, I guess. Led Zeppelin are taking the piss.

Which brings me back to Presence the album itself. The songs are not as memorable, or even as great as their past albums. Presence definitely wouldn’t be an album I’d pull off the shelf and listen to on repeat, and I’d have to think about investing the money for it to simply complete my Led Zeppelin collection.

3/5

Presence (1976)
Led Zeppelin
Producer: Jimmy Page

Now go check out Kevin’s take!

7 comments

  1. For you not to have your own copy of Presence speaks volumes Sarah! But I get it as every band that was successful seems to have one of those albums that you are on the fence about.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like this one a bit more than you do, I think. I’m just all for unshaded phallic objects and ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine’. To be fair, that’s all from memory, I probably haven’t listened to this in a decade – which tells its own tale.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ‘Presence’ wouldn’t be an album I’d listen to over and over again. Some of the riffs were a bit annoying; the only highlight to the album was Bonham’s drumming! I read on Kevin’s blog that “Candy Store Rock” is Led Zeppelin’s attempt to go rockabilly, there’s too much going on in that song that there’s not much of a groove going on. I think ‘Physical Graffiti’ is a much better album, to be honest.

    Liked by 1 person

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